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The Biggie Smalls Brooklyn Tour

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Today Marks The 21th Anniversary Of Biggie Smalls' Death

21 years ago today, the entire city mourned as it learned that Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls, had been killed in an L.A. drive-by shooting. Though he was shot in Los Angeles, Biggie was born, raised, and made a name for himself in Bed-Stuy and throughout the New York City streets.

You can still tour Biggie’s old stomping grounds that he brought to life with his iconic music. The Bed-Stuy neighborhood may have changed significantly since Biggie’s day, but you can still find his style, his essence and his unique spirit in murals around the neighborhood and at some of his favorite haunts. Here is a road map on where to find these gems.

CORNER OF FULTON AVENUE

At a mere 17 years old Biggie spent lots of his time on the corners in the depths of Brooklyn testing out his freestyles and cadence before meeting Puffy and busting out into the nations conscious. Check out this rare clip of Christopher Wallace from 1989 in his neighborhood, Bed-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

“KING OF NY” MURAL

Bedford Ave and Quincy Street

Artists Maoufal Alaoui and Scoot Zimmerman have kept Biggie’s spirit alive and bigger than ever with their 38-foot mural honoring the rapper. The piece shows Biggie Smalls crowned with the words “King of New York” above his head. You can find this mural on the corner of Bedford Ave and Quincy Street in Brooklyn.

BIGGIE’S HOME

226 St. James Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Photo: Clarence Davis

The Notorious B.I.G. grew up on the third floor of this Clinton Hill building in Brooklyn. Though his former “one room shack” has been renovated extensively since Biggie lived there, you can still walk the same streets as the legendary rapper and check out the building where he and his mother Voletta Wallace lived.

ORIENT TEMPLE

197 St. James Place, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Photo: Jon Dieringer

Across the street from Biggie’s childhood home is the closed-but-standing Orient Temple. Biggie did some of his earliest performances here at underground “Soul Power” parties. This is the joint Biggie and his friends in Junior M.A.F.I.A honed their freestyle skills, earning Biggie the nickname of “Mayor of Saint James Place”.

COMANDANTE BIGGIE! FORT GREENE MURAL

Corner of Fulton and South Portland

This evocative mural, by Lee Quinones, depicts Brooklyn’s famous son in the style of South American iconoclast revolutionary Che Guevara.The mural was quite controversial mural when it went up; however, the artists explained that the mural is meant to honor and show respect to the unofficial king of East Coast hip-hop.

RESPECT FOR LIFE BARBER SHOP

932A Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Check out Respect for Life for a chance to meet Biggie’s long time barber “Pop from the barbershop,” Chadler “Guess” Smith and get an ill fade. Smith gave Biggie his cuts from when he was 10 years old until his death. Smith continues to cut for rappers such as members of the Junior M.A.F.I.A.

KEY FOOD

991 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Right across the street from Respect for Life is the local Key Food Supermarket (Met Food Supermarket in Biggie’s day). Bagging neighborhood groceries here was Biggie’s original hustle when he was just a teen. There are quite a few murals of the rapper that can be found on the exterior walls.

GEORGE WESTINGHOUSE HIGH SCHOOL

105 Tech Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Photo: NY Daily News

This is where Biggie was (in his own words) a “terror since the public school era,” (though for legal reasons we don’t recommend following his lead on “cutting classes, squeezing asses”). The George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School is something of a breeding ground for rap icons, with other notable attendees including Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and DMX.

COUNTRY HOUSE DINER

887 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

This local Bed-Stuy diner, Country House Diner, established in 1962 was a favorite of the Notorious B.I.G. Order his “Big Poppa” recommendation: “A T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch’s grape juice”.

JUNIOR’S RESTAURANT

386 Flatbush Ave Ext, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Y’all remember when Biggie told us all he used to eat “sardines for dinner?” According to Wayne Barrow, the director of acclaimed Notorious, the Biggie Smalls biopic, Biggie would come to Junior’s for dessert…you guessed it cheesecake. Finish off your Biggie tour at a New York City Staple, Junior’s Restaurant with what Barrow believes was the rapper’s favorite order from his favorite desert spot on Flatbush Ave– a strawberry cheesecake and Coca-Cola. Go get some!

NOTORIOUSS CLOTHING, BY TYANNA WALLACE, BIGGIE’S ONLY DAUGHTER WITH JAN JOHNSON

514 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights, the “flagship store for streetwear”

Photo from T’yanna Wallace Instagram

Notorious B.I.G. gave his daughter the spotlight on many of his rhymes. She was the one that was promised “five-carat earrings” in Juicy the toddler he held in the video and the first person he thanked on the ‘Ready To Die’ linear notes (This album is dedicated to my daughter T’yanna). T’yanna Wallace is currently keeping her father’s name alive and pursuing her dreams, creating Notoriouss Clothingapparel inspired by her late father which opened very recently in December 2017. On the night of the store’s start studded opening which was attended by

Lil Cease, Dj Enuff, Jadakiss DJ Mr. Cee and her only sibling Christopher “CJ” Wallace (whose mother is Faith Evan) T’yanna told Brooklyn’s News 12 “I just feel like when you listen to his music, you know he’s from Brooklyn… I don’t really hear a lot of people coming to Brooklyn and not thinking about Biggie.” Notoriouss Clothing is situated on the ever busy Atlantic Ave., but is a must visit and the most important stop on Biggie’s Brooklyn Tour as it is living proof of Biggie’s undying legacy.

Rest in Power Notorious B.I.G!

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